Learning Morality through Literary Mimesis

  • Lisbet Svanøe


Introduction: In Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason [Kritik der praktischen Vernunft] (hereafter: KpV), Kant in the second book’s second part “Methodology of Pure Practical Reason” [”Methodenlehre der reinen praktischen Vernunft”] wonders why “the educators of the youth” have not “made use of this propensity of reason to enter with pleasure upon the most subtle examination of the practical questions that are thrown up”1. This could be done by teaching through the biographies of ancient and modern times with the view of having at hand instances of duties laid down, in which, especially by comparison of similar actions under different circumstances, they might exercise the critical judgment of their scholars in remarking their greater or less moral significance2 (KpV, AA:155).